Google and Bing are always telling us how useful and beneficial personalised search results are and as these search engines strive to offer more personalised search results, we are being encouraged to embrace results of this kind.
However, a recent survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project asked participants for their opinions and feelings on personalised search results and the findings were quite shocking. Out of 2000 adult participants asked, 65% said they viewed the search engines tracking their searching behaviour and then providing them with search results based on this as a “bad thing”. The reason commonly given for this view was that they feared their search results would be limited when determined in this way.
Another section of the survey found that 73% of those asked also said they were “not okay” with more personalised search results because they feel their privacy is being invaded.
Those taking part in this survey were American so it is impossible to say if views would be similar in UK cities such as London and Liverpool but it is likely further research will be carried out in the UK too.
Personalising search results is affecting the way the search engines provide us with information, the search results we see and the way online businesses are running their search engine optimisation campaigns. However, personalised search results do also have advantages and are sure to be something we see a lot more of in the future.